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Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters
Autograph letter signed, London, to Noel Moore, March 8, 1895
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I hope the little mouse will soon be able to sit up in a chair by the fire.

I went to the zoo on Wednesday & saw the new giraffe. It is a young one, very pretty, and the keeper says it will grow a good deal taller.

I saw the box that it came in, the keeper says it had quite a stiff neck because the box was not large enough. They brought it by train from Southampton and they could not have a larger box because of getting through the tunnels. I also saw anew monk[e]y, called Jenny, it had black hair & a face like a very ugly old woman. A man gave it a pair of gloves which it put on, and it took a bunch of keys & tried to unlock its cage door.

This is the first of several get-well letters Potter wrote to Noel Moore while he was sick in bed during the spring of 1895. Her stories about a visit to the zoo were designed to raise the spirits of a child who might hope for similar adventures when his health improved. Instead of the usual cheery admonitions, she devised an amusing fantasy where the patient is attended by a solicitous mole physician and a sprightly mouse nurse bearing a tea-cup on a tray. She liked the image of the light-footed lady mouse and adapted it in Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes (1917), where the title character is shown scampering off with a platter full of pies.

Beatrix Potter (1866–1943)
Autograph letter signed, London, to Noel Moore, March 8, 1895
Gift of Colonel David McC. McKell, 1959; MA 2009.3



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